After a disappointing 2017 season, the Japanese male national team is focused on improving in 2018. As training for the FIVB Volleyball Men’s Nations League and the FIVB World Championship to be held this season, the team will go to training camps in the Netherlands and nin May. The team’s coaching staff commented on its frustrating 2017 and its hopes for the new year (Fivb.com):
“Other teams were more powerful and more smart, so we faced many problems. We need to find better skills, especially in our passing but also we need to find a solution to the size gap. It’s a long-term programme to arrive at Tokyo 2020. These kinds of matches represent the kind of experience we need to have. We have to learn from these matches to find solutions to our problems and difficulties. These competitions are the best form of evaluation of what we have to do and what we have to develop and what we have to increase. It’s a young team and they must learn.” – Japan’s French assistant coach Philippe Blain
“There’s no silver bullet. We are trying to tell ourselves to be more aggressive and to improve our teamwork. We want to have a more mental approach and learn mental techniques to raise our motivation. There are techniques for learning such things, but on the court when we are faced with tough situations there should be a leader who can help others and push the other players. Unfortunately, we don’t have a clear answer to this problem yet. Strengthening the mentality of the players isn’t easy. The players must grow as people. We have to have a complete approach that involves the physical side and the mental side, as well as individual growth. Looking towards Tokyo 2020, we need more tall players like [201-cm Taishi Onodera. We want to face more teams with height and power and find ways out of our problems.” – Head Coach Yuichi Nakagaichi
Japan is currently ranked as the world’s 12th best team on FIVB’s ranking, so its fans are right to expect more from the squad.
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On March 19th, the Japan Volleyball Association (JVA) announced their Men’s National Team roster for the 2018 FIVB season. The team will begin training on April 9th in Tokyo.